Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez has urged the Catalans sign Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele, despite the prices being quoted for him. The Spanish giants have already been snubbed in their efforts to sign Philippe Coutinho, with Liverpool releasing a statement that the Brazilian is not for sale.
Le Parisien reported that the two clubs are close to reaching an agreement worth €130m (£117.3m, $152.6m) but Dortmund have rejected the offer with no new offers coming their way. To add another twist to the tale, Dortmund manager Peter Bosz subsequently confirmed that the 20-year-old had not reported for training as expected and that attempts to contact him had failed.
Dembele only arrived at Dortmund from Rennes last year but has been heavily linked with a move to the Camp Nou this summer. Barca are currently scouring the transfer market for replacements to bridge the void left by the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in a world record transfer.
Club legend Xavi backs Barcelona's intentions in signing Dembele but insists that his age, 20, can go both ways, as he has a high potential but can also act as a handicap as he tries to fit himself into the team.
When asked about his thoughts on Barcelona's potential signing of Dembele, Xavi told Eurosport France, "Yes, yes, I know. Versatile player, with a lot of physical and technical qualities, and very fast in addition. He is excellent in the last pass. Now, he is twenty years old...
"This means two things: he has all the future ahead of him, but he will have to demonstrate that he also has the mental strength to impose himself in a club as demanding as the Barca. His age is his strength as well as his handicap. But with his qualities, the club must take a risk on him. The price? Today, any good player is worth millions..."